We may be coming to the end of National Gardening Week in the UK, but our fingers have never felt greener! We’re looking at the best plants to start growing and nurturing in your garden this April…
It’s a great time for root vegetables to be out and about in the garden, so get your parsnips, swedes and turnips into the ground. They may seem like more wintery vegetables, but roasted in small chunks with sweet honey and rosemary and served with a sprinkling of feta cheese, they make a great (and healthier) alternative to fries or potato salad at your next barbeque.
If you’re looking to step away from the pre-packaged salad aisle at the supermarket, April is also a great month to start growing your own salad bowl. You can begin to sow beetroot seeds directly outdoors, as well as lettuces, spinach, kale and spring onions.
A vegetable which has been growing steadily (no pun intended) in popularity is the artichoke. Now is the perfect time to start directly sowing globe artichokes – which are a hardier variety of artichoke and produces beautiful heavy globe-shaped heads. The tender centres of artichokes (often referred to as the ‘hearts’) can be marinated and preserved, and are ideal as part of a summer antipasti platter on the patio to celebrate the warmer nights – check out this great recipe.
Fruit can be a little harder to grow in UK climates, but that doesn’t mean to have to go without! The best April fruit to plant is strawberry plants. Strawberry plants are so versatile – all they need is sun, shelter and fertile, well-drained soil, and you have one of the nation’s favourite sweet berries! Make sure you pick a patch away from any winds as the plants are rather delicate when they are first planted directly into the soil, and consider covering them with some wire netting as birds can’t resist the ripe, juicy fruits!
If you’re looking to bring some more flora into your garden to brighten up your outside space, it’s time to start planting some flowers. If you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse, you can start to sow the seeds for everyone’s favourite: sunflowers! Whether you’re eight or eighty, seeing mighty sunflowers growing tall over the walls of gardens are guaranteed to bring a smile to any face.
An increasingly popular type of flower to grow is wild flowers. These can be sown directly outside without the use of a greenhouse, and they’re perfect for those who want a more natural look with their flowers. A mix of wildflower seeds will bring a huge variety of colours and textures, and they will also encourage bees, butterflies and other wildlife into your garden.